Parquet Courts review – a sweaty hour of buzzsaw riffs and detuned melody

La Belle Angèle, Edinburgh
Success looks unlikely to mellow the DIY art-punk quartet

Don’t call them slackers. Parquet Courts have cranked out five albums of agitated art-punk in as many years. But even as the venues steadily get bigger, the DIY quartet haven’t sanded off any of their spikier corners. When one fan in this enthusiastically crammed club won’t stop shouting requests, singer/guitarist Austin Brown shuts them down with the cheerful sarcasm of a veteran standup nuking a heckler.

In a set top-heavy with material from their recent album Human Performance, the NYC scene-starters jam almost 20 tracks into a sweaty hour of buzzsaw riffs and detuned melody, with bassist Sean Yeaton often performing double duty as a headbanging metronome. Some songs last barely a minute. Others, like the locked-groove monologue of One Man No City, stretch out into frazzled freakouts. An early standout is Berlin Got Blurry, a lolloping love lament powered by a rawhide twang. (Winningly, it’s a song that pop dinosaurs Smash Mouth have endorsed.)

The most exhilarating sections are delivered in pump-action, one-two punches. No time is left for the ringing, raucous Master of My Craft to sink in before Brown and fellow singer/guitarist Andrew Savage launch into the tipsy, cock-of-the-walk racket of Borrowed Time. Later, the major/minor drone of Bodies Made Of abruptly shifts into Black and White, a heads-down pelter that resembles a Parquetted version of Ace of Spades. The overall impression is of coiled energy and serrated intent, of a band unlikely – and unwilling – to lose their edge.


Graeme Virtue

The GuardianTramp

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